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In a semi-distant future, roughly by 2116, a group of scientists in a long-term project have finally developed a race of sentient/intelligent raccoons. They did it in complete secrecy over a span of nearly a hundred years.

The intelligence level is that of a human child of 10-12 years old. To define intelligence, lets turn to Wikipedia, that words it like this:

Human intelligence is the intellectual capacity of humans, which is characterized by perception, consciousness, self-awareness, and volition. Through their intelligence, humans possess the cognitive abilities to learn, form concepts, understand, apply logic, and reason, including the capacities to recognize patterns, comprehend ideas, plan, problem solve, make decisions, retaining, and use language to communicate. Intelligence enables humans to experience and think.

These raccoons have the ability to use various tools and they can even understand and apply the basic concepts of certain science fields, such as grade-school level math and basic medical treatment of other raccoons. They also have a language. An average human can understand this language via a computer interface the scientists developed, while some people can even learn it. Meanwhile, a raccoon can be taught to understand human language.

They also have slightly higher lifespan over average raccoons, being able to live up to 30 years. There are 60-70 adult raccoons alive at the moment of the announcement, living in a small human-made settlement for them, where the scientists can control the population. They are raised, knowing they are watched over by the scientists, who interact with them on a daily basis, however only scientists are currently at the settlement.

Scientists also can completely prove that these raccoons actually possess intelligence. They plan on creating raccoon communities in remote locations of the planet where they will let the evolution of the species flow without outside control, only observation, while the original settlement will keep being controlled by them. Certain raccoons have also shown major interest in exploring the "human world", so the scientists are also proposing that raccoons might sent out to human cities, while still under a fairly strict observation.

My questions are following:

Regarding the inter-species relationships on the human side:

  1. How would human society react to a new intelligent species juridically?
  2. How would human society react to a new intelligent species from a stand-points of religion and morality?

Regarding the experiment:

  1. How might humanity react initially after the scientists have made an announcement of the results of this experiment?
  2. How might human society react to such an experiment juridically?

And regarding the intra-species aspect of creating a new species that are intelligent:

  1. How might our human to human interactions change, if another sentient species would suddenly appear on our planet?
  2. How could humans try to use the knowledge of artificially "boosting" the species?

EDIT: fixed up the structure of the question. If you feel it's to broad, I could create separate questions for the two latter question groups.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure the title and the questions really match. The title question seems to be about the relationship between these "intelligent raccoons" and humans, but the body questions are all about human to human interactions. For the question in the title, you may want to consider the "interspecies-relationships" tag. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 12 '16 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ In your scenario there is only one village of raccoons relatively isolated except for some scientists. In this case there is no way that question 3 will get you any other answer than: "it would't change at all". I would either include how raccoon expansion will go in the future so it will include more human interaction or omit it. $\endgroup$ – vanillagod Feb 12 '16 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling I edited the body of the question, so it should be more "to the point". $\endgroup$ – Nikita Akopjans Feb 12 '16 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ @vanillagod I added a paragraph about the possible expansion paths. $\endgroup$ – Nikita Akopjans Feb 12 '16 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm thirteen, so when you say these raccoons have the intelligence of twelve year olds, I hope you don't mean the maturity. I've been in high school two years and I know the maturity of (myself and) my age group could not support a society. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Feb 12 '16 at 14:37
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How might humanity react initially after the scientists have made an announcement of the results of this experiment?

First with disbelief. Then probably with equal measures of Fear, Hate and "Cool dude, did you make some Groots to go with each Rocket?

How might human society react to such an experiment juridically?

Depending on the country, someone would look into which laws might have been broken and which ones might currently are still being broken. People would turn up to observe to see if the animals are being abused in anyway.

There would be huge debates on what rights this new species has (if any) and how they should be treated.

How might our human to human interactions change, if another sentient species would suddenly appear on our planet?

Not a whole lot. At least with so few of the new species and so few people will ever actually meet them. It would be more like a curiosity, or someone having a tigers as wild pets.

Most people would be deeply skeptical of any such thing existing. Some fundamentalist would call for the immediate and complete destruction of the spawn of evil. Some would even try to bring it about.

Others would legislate for a several hundred square mile refuge for the new species to 'call their own' to live in.

And most of the rest of us would go on living our lives as we always have. Loving or hating our neighbors for deeds real and imagined.

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